Sunday, June 16, 2019

Escondido Wine Region (Espinosa Vineyards
and Cordiano Winery)

Tori and I had Friday off from work so we drove out to the Escondido Wine Region located on the hilltop along the San Pasqual Valley Agricultural Preserve. Our first stop was Espinosa Vineyards where we had tastings poured by the husband and wife owners. It was a beautiful day as we sat in their pleasant garden and sipped the five selections. They grow mainly native grapes from Spain but they also make wines from grapes they purchase throughout California. We purchased a bottle of our favorite, the 2016 Syrah with grapes from Santa Rita Hills. They were preparing for a pop-up dinner provided by an outside chef that sounded really tasty, but we already had reservations at Cordiano.

We originally planned to walk between four of the wine tasting rooms that sit within 1.5 miles of each other on Bandy Canyon and Highland Valley roads but the shoulders of the winding streets were too narrow to walk safely. It would be awesome if there was a hiking trail between the hilltop wineries. Since we had to drive, we skipped the two wineries in the middle and went straight to Cordiano Winery for another wine tasting and food. Cordiano has an awesome view of the surrounding farms from their terrace. We hung out for a few hours, eating pizza and trying 7 different tastings from their large selection of wines.

On Saturday, we also tried out Salud, a San Diego Taco Company in Barrio Logan that we have been wanting to try. We first saw it when we stayed Downtown in January for our anniversary, but we had to skip it since we already had reservations for dinner. We arrived before the line became too long and ordered seven different tacos. All of them were awesome and their side order of pinto beans were super tasty. Both of our favorites was the Califas Taco with Carnitas for me and Pollo Asado for Tori. I really enjoyed the Spiked Horchata mixed with Fireball!

Monday, May 27, 2019

Flying Trapeze (Bar-to-Bar Rig)

At the Memorial Day BBQ, it was my first time flying on the new Bar-to-Bar Rig at Trapeze High. Instead of throwing a trick to a Catcher, a Flyer attempts to grab the second swinging bar and cross over to the pedestal on the opposite side of the rig. Taking off from the second rise, I was able to swing over to the 2nd bar from a Knee Hang. Very Fun! Maybe next time, I can try it with the Splits.

Here are the photos I took of Cami, Kenny, Cindy and Tommy flying Bar-to-Bar with Splits, Straight Jumps and Knee Hangs.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Elfin Forest Hike (Olivenhain Reservoir)

Yesterday, we went hiking in the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve. From the parking lot, the trail heads straight up a tall ridge on the aptly-named Way Up Trail. Dogs are allowed on the trail as well as Mountain Bikes. We quickly moved out of the way of several bikes working their way down the steep and rocky trail. Pedestrians have right-of-way but we didn't want the riders to hurt themselves trying to stop in an awkward or dangerous spot.

After stopping at the Harmony Grove Overlook at the half way point, we crossed over the ridge and reached the Ridgetop Picnic Area that sits at 1,140 feet and has views of the Olivenhain Reservoir. The dam was started in 2000 and completed in 2003. (318 feet tall and 2,400 feet wide) It is a emergency storage reservoir that is filled with fresh water from the CA Aqueduct and Lake Hodges. It holds 7.8 billion gallons of water, enough water for 192,000 people for a year.

While we only hiked up and down the 1.41 mile Way Up Trail, the reserve has over 11 miles of trails that almost circle the Olivenhain Reservoir with views down to Lake Hodges on the far side. We are definitely coming back to hike some of the other trails, including the Biological Trail, an alternate route up to the ridge that merges with the Way Up Trail after a half mile.

The Escondido Creek that crosses the trailhead flows year round from Lake Wolford. After our rainy winter and spring, it was pretty full. The Elfin Forest Recreation Reserve closes a half hour before sunset.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Lifestyle Changes after High Cholesterol Test

Middle Age has hit after my first blood test with high cholesterol levels. My total was 239, forty over the healthy upper limit of 199.  While my good HDL cholesterol was within the normal range at 50, my bad LDL was at 168 instead of under 99.

Since I aggravated my hip injury last summer and then sprained my thumb in January, I have become a couch potato and let my weight climb up to 196 pounds.  At 6'2", this is just crossing over the line into the overweight category (25+) on the Body Mass Index.

My doctor suggested 45 minutes of exercise, six days a week so I have started walking after work on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday with trips to the gym to lift weights on Monday and Thursday. Friday is my off day.

Of course, my doctor also recommend changes to my diet.

Snacks - I have cut out all candy and sodas while at work. I now drink only water and the occasional black tea with honey if I need a caffeine boost.

Breakfast - Instead of just eating a chocolaty-nutty breakfast bar at home or the occasional breakfast sandwich with hash browns from a fast food joint, I now eat two pieces of whole grain toast with a spread of almond butter (roasted almonds and salt only.)

Lunch - My lunch is almost the same since I have been eating homemade salads with a side of lentils everyday for the last few years.  The only change is my wife has greatly reduced the amount of Feta Cheese in my lentils to just a sprinkle and switched the Gorgonzola cheese in my salad to sunflower seeds instead. (The seeds are awesome and I should have had them earlier!)

Dinner - My biggest difference has come at night, I have stopped the 2 to 3 nights a week where I stopped for a burrito or fast food on my way home from work and instead I have been snacking on chips and salsa with my wife's home-made guacamole or a handfuls of nuts. I have also cut back on the nightly sweets, limiting myself to one small dark chocolate peanut butter cup from Trader Joe's a few nights a week.

I have tried to eliminate preserved meats, like bacon or cold cuts and I have severely limited the amount of red meat I have been eating, substituting with chicken or turkey instead.

Weekends - Saturday is my cheat day and I still eat like I used to except that I only allow myself red meat every other weekend. On Sundays, we now eat Oatmeal for breakfast with nuts and berries instead of going out for Brunch. I still eat like I used to for the rest of the day but I try to pick the healthier option if there are several items I enjoy on a menu.

I am planning on having my Cholesterol levels checked again after three months of changing my lifestyle.

5/3/19 Update: After 7 weeks my weight has dropped down to 178 lbs. so I have been losing about 2 pounds a week.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Rainbows and Rain Clouds

It was a wonderful view from my office in Carlsbad yesterday. A Double Rainbow fell from the sky on the Farmland along Sunny Creek Road. The wind was howling, carry horizontal raindrops from the rain clouds across the valley while I took this picture.

Our building looked like it was floating up in the clouds while outgassing from our giant Liquid Nitrogen tanks briefly covered the parking lot during their refilling. Our atmosphere is approximately 78% Nitrogen. This is the same harmless vapors you see coming off of Liquid Nitrogen when they make instant Ice Cream at children's birthday parties.

Rain clouds before a brief thunderstorm moved in yesterday. I had been hoping for a beautiful sunset when I climbed up onto the roof, but I was happy to see this awesome view instead.

All the rain storms have washed the beach sand out to sea. At Beacons Beach, the turbulent ocean was brown near the shore.

My video of the Double Rainbow in Carlsbad.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Miriam's Tea Party: Heartbreak Hotel
(A Comedy Cabaret of Drag and Burlesque)

Tori and I went to Urban Mo's in Hillcrest for Miriam's Tea Party: Heartbreak Hotel. It was a Comedy Cabaret of Improv, Burlesque and Drag Performances. I didn't take any photos with my new camera of the performance but I did take pictures of us and our friends before and after the show. I love this photo of Tori after I helped tie up her Corset.

Before the show, we met our friends at their apartment in Bankers Hill for appetizers and drinks before catching Ubers into Hillcrest.

The Comedy Cabaret was fun! Except for the stand-up routine of the host, who also sang one song, the rest of the Drag Queens lip-synced their songs while we tipped them. (A guy behind me tipped several fifties!) Pandora Boxx of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” was one of the performers and was the most polished of the group. I liked that we had our own tables at Urban Mo’s so we could order food and drinks without leaving our seat.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

My First DSLR Prime Lens
(Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens)

I bought the first Prime Lens for my new Nikon D3500 Camera. It is a Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 35mm f/1.8G Lens with Auto Focus. I tested it out on my wife's Valentine’s Day flowers.

I am loving the Bokeh Blur effect. It has no zoom, but I am used to that since I rarely used the zoom feature when I took most of my photos with my iPhone or my old Point and Shoot.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Acro Gymnastics Mock Meet (Flip Force)

Tori and I have been practicing Acro for the last few years so it was very fun to watch our friends’ daughters compete in an Acro Gymnastics Mock Meet on Sunday. This practice meet was held at Flip Force with teams visiting from the Cal Elite gym. In Acrobatic Gymnastics, the routines are similar to the well-known gymnastic Floor Exercise with a Pair or Trio dancing and tumbling to music, transitioning into acrobatic balancing poses as well as adding dynamic tosses with the Base(s) pitching and catching the Top who twists and somersaults in the air.

Cindy's daughters performed first with their respective Trios. Maya and Vanessa were the Middles (Mids) in their groups, a position which combines the strength and balance of the Base with the flexibility and agility of the Top. It was cool to see the girls who I have caught in Flying Trapeze, doing so well in this exciting sport. Maya's Trio has been selected to the National Team in the 11-16 Age Group.

Cami and Tatum both competed as Tops in their respective Pairs. After living for many years in the circus, traveling through Japan with their parent's Flying Trapeze Troupe, they are back in the States and using their circus training and experience to excel in Acro Gymnastics. They are natural performers.

Tatum's Pair was Level 6 and she had a big smile throughout her routine. My favorite picture is of her older sister giving her two thumbs up as Tatum stands in a Two High near the end of her routine.

We also got to see the B.E.E Trio perform from Cal Elite, one of the three woman's groups in the Junior 12-18 National Team for USA Gymnastics. They performed at very high level with impressive standing acrobatic poses and they tossed their Top high into the air. They will compete in Belgium this year.

Their Triple Handstand Pose with the Top balancing on their feet was my favorite and I especially like the dismount as she rolled down the back of the Middle's legs.